Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said it was difficult to imagine what the present form of India would have been if Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was not there, and added that his 'Hindavi swarajya' was the finest example of good governance.
He also said that the works done by Shivaji Maharaj on various fronts, including effective use of marine power and watershed management, are still imitable.
Modi made the remarks in his 11-minute-long pre-recorded video message that was played during the public felicitation programme of renowned historian and author Babasaheb Purandare here.
Purandare, known for his works on Shivaji Maharaj, celebrated his 100th birthday on July 29. A recipient of Padma Vibhushan, he is popularly known as 'Shiv Shahir' (King Shivaji's bard). Purandare has penned and directed historical play "Janata Raja" (1985) that was performed by over 200 artistes and translated and enacted in five languages.
In the message, the PM said the present geography of India was inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's heroic deeds.
"Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is 'shikhar purush' (supreme man) in India's history. There would have been a question of our past, present, and future that what had happened if there was no Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It would have been difficult to imagine the present form of India, its present grandeur without Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj," he said.
"His 'Hindavi swarajya' was the finest example of good governance. It was about justice to the deprived and fight against injustice. Shivaji Maharaj's management, his effective use of marine powers, utility of navy, effective watershed management, and several such works are still imitable," the PM said.
Congratulating Purandare on turning 100, Modi said that in ancient times, the sages while underlining the importance of becoming 'shatayu' (100 years old), had said, 'Jeevet sharadah shatam, Budhyem sharadah shatam, Rohem sharadah shatam'.
"It means, we should live for 100 years, we should remain active in thinking for 100 years, and we should continue to work after 100 years. Babasaheb's life truly reflects this philosophy," he said.
As India is entering into 75th year of Independence, a campaign to pen down the heroics of all those who sacrificed their lives is underway, Modi said, adding that Babasaheb has been doing the same work for decades now. "He sacrificed his whole life for the same. We all are indebted to him for taking Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his history to masses," he added.
"It was Babasaheb who brought the young generation of the country face to face with the heroic deeds of Shivaji Maharaj. His faith towards Shivaji Maharaj reflects through his writings, his skills of telling the stories of Maratha king to relive the great king in all our hearts," the PM said.
Modi recalled that four decades ago, when there was an event of Babasaheb Purandare in Gujarat's Ahmedabad, he had attended it.
"I had once travelled to Pune specially to watch the show of 'Janata Raja'. Babasaheb always believed and worked towards taking the history (Shivaji Maharaj) and the inspirational stories attached to it to the young generations and also ensured that it reaches to them in true form (version)," he said, adding that India's history needs this kind of "balance".
The young historians in the country should possess similar honesty while writing about India's history, he said.
Modi also hailed Purandare's contribution in Goa and Dadra Nagar Haveli Mukti Sangram.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, in his video message, credited Purandare for taking Shivaji Maharaj to every household.
"A lot of people have done research on history, but Babasaheb was the one who, through his unrelenting efforts and hard work, took Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his life to every household," he said.
"This is a happy moment for the people like me, who had heard stories of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj told by Babasaheb during the school days," he said.
In his video message, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar said that he heard the stories of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj told by Babasaheb and all those stories helped him in cricket.
"Listening to all the stories of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj gives you an inspiration and it ignites the fighting spirit," he said.
He hailed the historian for devoting 80 years of his life to his work on Shivaji Maharaj, but rued that due to cricket schedule and tours, he could not watch 'Janata Raja' play.
Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis's pre-recorded message was also played out during the programme, while BJP's Rajya Sabha member Udayan Raje Bhosale's and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's messages for Purandare were read out.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan was present in person at the felicitation ceremony that took place at 'Shiv Srushti' in the city